DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
David J. Hickton
, United States Attorney
Contact: AUSA Assigned to Case

Three Charged with Multiple Violations of Federal Gun Laws

PITTSBURGH - Three Allegheny County residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, on charges of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, tampering with a witness by threat of physical force, and brandishing, using, carrying, and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The 13-count superseding indictment, returned on March 1, named:

Joshua Bristo, 23, of Clairton, Pennsylvania;

Richard Van Holt, Jr., 27, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and

James Pamplin, Jr., 21, of Clairton, Pennsylvania.

According to the superseding indictment, from on or about Jan. 1, 2015, and continuing thereafter until on or about Oct. 28, 2015, in the Western District of Pennsylvania, Joshua Bristo, Richard Van Holt, Jr., and James Pamplin, Jr., conspired to commit offenses against the United States, that is, to falsify firearms purchase forms, and to possess firearms as convicted felons.

Additionally, Bristo, from on or about Jan. 7, 2015, through on or about Oct. 28, 2015, and Van Holt, from on or about and around May 5, 2015, through on or about Oct. 19, 2015, possessed firearms as convicted felons. Pamplin, Jr., is accused of aiding and abetting Bristo on May 28, 2015, in possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

The superseding indictment also charges that on or about March 6, 2015, through on or about March 10, 2015, Joshua Bristo tampered with a witness by threat of physical force by pointing a firearm and threatening to kill the witness.

The superseding indictment further charges that on or about March 6, 2015, Joshua Bristo knowingly brandished a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, thereby tampering with a witness by threat of physical force.

"Individuals who illegally sell guns end up arming violent criminals, who time and again pull the trigger on our streets and put the public’s safety at risk," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Sam Rabadi. "ATF will continue to shutdown illegal gun running networks and put the traffickers behind bars to make our homes, streets, and communities a lot safer and more peaceful."

The law provides for a maximum total sentence for Bristo of not less than seven years and up to life in prison, a fine of $1,000,000.00, or both. Van Holt and Pamplin each face a potential sentence of incarceration of up to 15 years, a fine of $500,000.00, or both. Under the Federal

Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Clairton Police Department, and North Versailles Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the Superseding Indictment in this case.

This case is being prosecuted under Project Safe Neighborhoods, a collaborative effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and communities to prevent, deter, and prosecute gun crimes.

A superseding indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Field Division: Philadelphia Field Division